News Around Our Neighborhood – May 1, 2017

Courtesy of the Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate, these news briefs are excerpted from stories originally published on lakewood.advocatemag.com.

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 7.20.15 AMHandy dandy interactive map of Dallas City Council Elections districts, candidates and early voting locations

The Dallas City Council election is May 6, and early voting began yesterday. But most Dallas residents don’t care. Less than 10 percent of registered voters — more like 6.14 percent — typically turn out to vote in our local elections. The bright side: well, just think of how much your vote counts.

Maybe it’s apathy; maybe it’s a feeling that the status quo (or some seemingly inconsequential change, whatever) is a-ok. Or perhaps some are simply confused: What district do I live in? Who is running? Where and what time can I go vote? Oh, forget it … (I do realize that if you actually are reading this, you might be well aware of the answers, but I guarantee you have neighbors who do not.)

Lake Highlands resident Holt Mitchell is one of the people who cares about city politics, and deeply. Did I mention that those who care usually care quite passionately? Even though his district 10 has no election drama this time around (incumbent Adam McGough is running unopposed), he was annoyed: “I couldn’t find a site with information on City Council Districts, who the candidates are, and early voting locations with voting hours together in one place. So I ended up building a map with all of the information in one space.”

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An Instagram you’ll want to follow if you like knowing about East Dallas development

Development in East Dallas is often hotly debated, as neighbors here are dedicated to preserving our historic charm. The term “developer” can sound like a dirty word in some circles, leading many companies to play their hands close to the vest as they plan their projects. EKO Construction is taking a somewhat different approach, with an Instagram account that shows a lot of the company’s thought process and even asks for neighborhood feedback on projects. The business, led by Brad Winters with Miles Durham (who we profiled last year) is building dozens of properties all over the city, including the new roughly 150 townhomes to be built near Jimmy’s Food Store.

Image-uploaded-from-iOS-1-1170x950-400x270How a DOA Texas voucher law is permeating a Dallas school board race

A bill allowing public tax dollars to be spent on private school tuition, also known as vouchers, passed through the Texas Senate last month. The chairman of the Texas House Public Education Committee, however, has said the bill has “no path forward.”

So private school vouchers are dead in the water this session, but what about the next one in 2019? Or 2021? Or what if new U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a champion of “private school choice,” finds a way to offer vouchers through the federal government?

And how did these issues find their way into an East Dallas election for the DISD school board, which has no authority on the ways that state and federal dollars are spent on schools?

The answer is that the challenger in the DISD District 2 board race, Lori Kirkpatrick, has made vouchers a central issue in her campaign. Kirkpatrick made this explicit in a campaign email she sent earlier this month.

“I will not stand silently as an individual who has many investments in private education is on the board of the second largest public school district in the state of Texas and the 14th in the nation,” she wrote.

Kirkpatrick was referring to incumbent District 2 Trustee Dustin Marshall, claiming in the same email that the $250,000-plus he spent in 2016 included “donors who believe in the privatization of the public school system” and that since the election, Marshall “has confirmed that he is not willing to stand against school vouchers that would take funding from public education.”

Read more here.

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